Did you know that on average we only use approximately 4% of our brains? The good news is that we can increase this percentage by exercising them more fully.
In order to make better use of our brains, we have to first understand how they work. In fact we don’t have just one brain, but two brains. They are almost identical separate hemispheres, which are connected with some communication fibres and they operate in entirely different ways. The right brain is responsible for thoughts which are creative, intuitive, holistic, synthesizing and look at wholes. The left side of the brain is responsible for the thoughts which are analytical, logical, rational, objective and look at parts.
Our Western education and business systems favour the left side of the brain. Although we are all born with equally functioning left and right brains, most of us grow up to be very stunted in the right brain department.
So, given that we teach our children to think logically and analytically, and our business decisions are based on full research and analysis, why would we want to make more use of the right brain? It is because very successful people are adept at visualising their futures. They use the creative right side of the brain to imagine, visualise and commit to success. Napoleon Hill author of the seminal work – “Think and grow rich” (for which he interviewed 500 successful people) used to say that; “What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”.
So how does visualisation work? It works because our subconscious mind does not differentiate between actual reality and imagined reality. If we imagine vividly, then the subconscious mind expects this to be real and will draw on this experience when it is filtering observations from our daily life. This is important because our eyes take in less than a trillionth of the electro-magnetic energy that reaches them. We exclude based on our expectations of the world. Experiments done on a frog concluded that a frog only picks up on a couple of visual stimuli. It notices small, dark, moving objects, which could be potential food, or changes to the light, which could indicate large predators. All other colours, shapes and movements are filtered out. So we also filter out, dependant on what our expectations of the world are, and so we miss opportunities for success. It is not just the eyes that filter out. The brain also filters out knowledge or information until it becomes relevant to our perception of reality. If we visualise ourselves as being powerful, confident and resourceful and we visualise our goals with clarity, then over time, we are able to create that reality by changing our filters – noticing opportunities and bringing to mind relevant pieces of information.
The human brain functions best when left and right brains are working in harmony. What is noticeable about the many outstanding stories of great scientific advances throughout history is the way people combined imagination and intuition with careful, reasoned analysis. Einstein’s theory of relativity was conceived in his imagination on a summer’s day but he was also able to transform this concept into real mathematical formulae.
So how can you combine imagination, visualisation and creativity with logic, reason and objectivity? Here are some hints and tips:
- Do something different each day—change your habits
- Create time for ‘other side’ activities
- Left brain exercise—crosswords / puzzles / reading properly
- Right brain exercise—drawing / creative writing/ go for long walks / meditation
If you want to find out more about how you can integrate your brain, Coaching Direct run seminars on this topic, giving you some excellent tools and techniques which you can use independently. We also strongly believe that coaching is an intervention which fully exercises both sides of the brain, using both right brained visualisation techniques and left brain planning and analysis. If you want to find out more about how coaching can help you to expedite your success, please get in touch.